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Help!

Advice for students and NQTs from Sara Bubb Several parents have already had a go at me and I'm very worried about the forthcoming parents' evening. What can I do?

Don't worry - even experienced teachers have problems with some parents. Try seeing things through the eyes of parents of pupils in your class. They want to be reassured that their children are in safe hands - and will feel anxious about having a new teacher.

Their knowledge and opinion of you will be based largely on what their children say and what homework you give. So try to get them on your side by making friendly but professional comments in contact books and whenever you meet. Be proactive, ringing parents if something has happened rather than letting them hear their child's version of events. Seek advice from your induction tutor about how to handle difficult situations.

You need to preparewell for parents' evening. Organise your teaching for the day and the day after to be fairly easy-going, so you don't get too tired. Make sure you look professional - that your personal presentation does you credit and work is marked. You are being judged as much as the pupils.

Plan the appointments carefully, giving yourself breaks where possible, and making sure parents know how long they've got with you. Make notes beforehand on each child so that you give a clear positive message and, if you can predict what issues parents might raise, plan some answers. Keep a clock and list of appointments on the table so you keep to time, and have a supply of drinks and nibbles to keep you going.

Good luck - you will feel a great sense of achievement when it's over.

E-mail your questions to: friday@tes.co.ukSara Bubb cannot enter into personal correspondence

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